"I was 22 years old and 2 months away from my college graduation when I found out I was pregnant. I knew in the back of my head that I was more than likely pregnant far before I missed my period but hoped with all of my heart I was wrong. I remember sitting in class one evening looking at my calendar with all of the dates swirling in my head. As I started counting it hit me like a ton of bricks....'I am pregnant!' Later that week I worked up the courage to go buy a pregnancy test and sure enough my impending feeling of doom was correct.
My first frantic phone call went out to my x who was, without a doubt the father, luckily he didn't answer. My next phone call was to my sister. She was able to help calm me down and look at the entire picture before panicking. The worst part of the day was the fact that my parents were on their way over for a visit and to take me to lunch. I will never forget sitting there through an entire lunch trying to pretend like everything was ok. I wasn't able to look at food but I had to pretend for them. I wanted so badly to blurt it out but the words would not come. I couldn't risk them being upset or disappointed in me, I couldn't risk anyone knowing until I knew what I was going to do.
After some time to think with a clear-ish head I knew that carrying this pregnancy and parenting was not in the cards for me. It felt so selfish but I had just worked so hard for 4 years to finish college, what would happen to me now if I chose to follow through with the pregnancy? I had plans after graduation and they didn't include having a baby. Again, it sounds so selfish but i was selfish....I was 22 years old!!
There were some ideas about possibly creating an adoption plan but I knew my family would not understand nor be able to handle that. My sister and her husband offered to adopt the baby but just days after the offer all 3 of us realized that would be far to hard and confusing for all of us. After many talks and endless tears the decision was made to seek an abortion.
My sister and her husband were extremely supportive and offered to pay for the procedure. While I hated someone having to 'bail' me out I didn't have much of a choice. The first appointment I made was for a local clinic in the state I was attending school. They are a 24 hour informed consent state so my sister would have to drive the 4 hours to get me, take me another 2 hours to the clinic on day one and all over again on day 2.
Luckily I was close enough to a neighboring state that did not have the same level of restrictions. I made an appointment out of state, canceled the one for in state, and prepared to live for the next couple of weeks with the worst secret of my life.
I was incredibly sick and that combined with indescribable amounts of guilt and shame made for a rough couple of weeks. I knew once it was over I would feel so relieved but I didn't know how to make it until the appointment.
Soon the day came and my nerves were officially shot by that point. We drove the 3 hours to the out of state clinic and singed in. The waiting room was very comfortable and since they were a full service clinic there were many women there for various procedures. I had to do some blood work and have an ultrasound for dating and a counseling session with an employee. She really walked me through my options and how the procedure would go if I chose to follow through. I never at anytime felt that I was pressured, not that it would have mattered as my mind was made up after 2 weeks of waiting, a great deal of planning, and a 3 hour car ride.
The procedure itself was pretty terrible. I remember a lot of pain and asking over and over when it would end. The nurses were very kind but it was obvious that they spent their days doing these types of procedures, and while I couldn't see anything, and the room was in a full blurry spin, I could hear them casually talk about one of them having a new pair of shoes.
Finally it was over and it was time to sit and recover. The meds made me pretty light headed but over all I felt so relieved that it was over. There were several of us sitting in the back all recovering from presumably the same thing. Some of us had men at our sides and others sat alone but we all knew what we were going through.
People think it's an easy way out but dealing with the guilt an shame is anything but easy. Even feeling more relieved than ever I still felt so ashamed that I put myself in that situation. I was 22 years old and slept with a man using no birth control....what did I think would happen?? I take full responsibly for putting myself their that day but the older I get the more grateful I am that I was able to make my own decision based on what was best for me. Millions of women in this country do not have the support system to make those decisions possible and I will never take my ability to exercise my right to make a decision for my body based on what was best for me.
Finally it was time to leave. A nurse came over and talked to me about birth control, making sure I had a prescription and pills to go home with. They showed us out a back way as to avoid the protesters who often gathered near the entrance. The ride home was long but not nearly as long as the ride there.
Recovering was pretty easy and within days I felt back to myself. The relief that come over me was one of the heaviest feelings in the world. I felt like I had my life back and I could breathe again. I was able to go on and finish my senior year. I started my career shortly after and while there were days that I struggled with my situation I never, not even for a second, regretted my choice. I did not want to be a parent at the point in my life and I am grateful that I was able to to make that choice myself for myself.
I never told the father, a part in this story I also don't regret. He was a rather horrible person who was not suited to parent a child. He would not be someone that I would ever want to share a life with up to and including parenting a child. I regret that I put myself in a position to have to make that choice but again, I don't regret my choice.
Many years later I married and a couple of years later started my family. I would be lying if I said I didn't think about the what if's but I also realize that had I not have made the right choice for me at that time I wouldn't have such a wonderful family now. Life often puts us at random forks in the road and I am grateful I was able to chose which way I turned. I know that I chose the 'right' direction." —Anonymous